You can go from meeting to meeting within the startup community and you will likely hear a few times a day: “So-and-so is crushing it!” or ”We are 100% crushing it!”
We hear this jargon over and over again - ad nauseam. And yet — it’s not true.
No one is crushing it.
The truth about startups is this: The struggle is REAL. No matter who you are.
Running a startup is a series of highs and lows. There will be a high and then a low, another high and then another low.
From the beginning to the middle to the later stages, it doesn’t get any easier. It only changes.
Challenges will always be there. As your company grows, things will stay as hard, but the nature of problems change.
In the beginning you are asking yourself questions like: What constitutes an MVP? How do we get Beta users? Where do we find A talent and how do we pay them?
Later on, you’ll have new questions to ask yourself, like: Are our employees happy? Is our culture reflective of our values? How do I handle that unruly Board member? Is my Head of Engineering returning those recruiter calls? Are we where we need to be to go out for the next round?
The list goes on.
If you truly want to be the best leader you can be, and build the most successful company you can build, you need to check your ego at the door and get real and true with yourself about what is and isn’t working.
You need to practice humility and vulnerability and ask yourself: Where do I need to grow and strengthen as a leader? Where do I need help? Have I set up a support network (because this sh*t is hard and scary and isolating)?
We certainly are not suggesting that founders/founding teams should not be confident in themselves or their companies. Or that investors can't speak highly of their portfolio companies. We simply would like to put the bombast and bravado to rest.
The more honest and real we are with ourselves and one another about the struggles of building successful companies (re: no is crushing it), the better we serve ourselves, our companies and our ecosystem.